Teddy the Guardian Tops Startups from 31 Countries to Win 2013 Startup Open Held During Global Entrepreneurship Week

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Croatian company’s founder earns trip to Global Entrepreneurship Congress in Moscow.

Teddy the Guardian, a completely organic plush teddy bear that measures children's vital signs seamlessly as they play, beat out startups from 31 countries to be named the winner of the 2013 Startup Open. The competition, run by the organizers of Global Entrepreneurship Week, identifies and recognizes the most promising young firms with a startup moment within the past 12 months.

“Recognizing companies at the earliest of stages is important for them to get exposure and for other entrepreneurs to get inspired,” said Thom Ruhe, vice president of Entrepreneurship at the Kauffman Foundation, a sponsor of the competition.

Teddy the Guardian was created by Josipa Majic and Ana Buric, co-founders of iDerma, a tech startup in Zagreb, Croatia.

“Earlier this summer, I had the pleasure of meeting Croatian President Ivo Josipovic and he stressed to me the importance of instilling an entrepreneurial mindset in the people of his country,” said Jonathan Ortmans, president of Global Entrepreneurship Week and a senior fellow at the Kauffman Foundation. “He should know that he has a shining example of innovation right in the capital city.”

Each Teddy bear has built-in medical sensors that monitor a child's heart rate, body temperature and oxygen saturation. Every time a child puts Teddy's paw on his forehead or hugs him, the bear’s sensors detect values, record them and transmit them in real time to a mobile app where data is analyzed, visualized, managed and downloaded by medical staff and parents.

As the grand prize winner, Teddy the Guardian founder Josipa Majic receives an all-expenses-paid trip to Moscow, Russia, to serve as an official delegate to one of the world’s largest startup community gatherings, the Global Entrepreneurship Congress, in March 2014.

Four other finalists in the Startup Open received a mentorship experience prize—one year of mentoring from successful entrepreneurs courtesy of the Entrepreneurs’ Organization They are:

  •     Force Impact Technologies (United States): The California startup’s FIT Guard contains an accelerometer and gyroscope that illuminate an otherwise normal mouthguard to visually indicate the severity of risk for concussion when an athlete is involved in a collision.
  •     Carrot (Mexico): The Mexico City startup is the country’s first car-sharing service—offering cars of various sizes that are kept at self-service pods throughout the capital city.
  •     Panacea (Bangladesh): The Dhaka-based startup’s mobile application allows customers to verify the authenticity of medication and pharmaceuticals—an all-too-common problem with counterfeiters in its native Bangladesh—with a quick QR code scan.
  •     XGear (Pakistan): One Step Solutions, a Lahore-based startup, has developed the XGear app to scan your vehicle and retrieve valuable information, including fault codes and prognostic data, that helps keep your vehicle in top-notch condition.

Now in its fourth year, the Startup Open competition was open to entrepreneurs who had a “startup moment” between GEW 2012 and GEW 2013 (Nov. 19, 2012 to Nov. 17, 2013). A startup moment is anything that can be interpreted as the company is “open for business,” such as the business becoming incorporated, completing a first sale or securing outside funding. A panel of judges selected the winners on the basis of concept, growth projections and knowledge of their industry.

Startup Open is organized by Global Entrepreneurship Week and supported by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation, Dell and Startup Weekend.

Today’s announcement coincides with Global Entrepreneurship Week, an initiative to spur new ideas, ingenuity and firm creation through local, national and global activities. The week-long celebration takes place in 140 countries with more than 7 million participants at 20,000 events, activities and competitions.

For more information on the 2013 Startup Open winners, visit http://www.startupopen.com. To learn more about what is happening around the world during the GEW 2013, visit http://www.gew.co.

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About Global Entrepreneurship Week
During one week each November, thousands of events and competitions around the world inspire millions to engage in entrepreneurial activity while connecting them to potential collaborators, mentors and even investors. In five years, Global Entrepreneurship Week has expanded to 140 countries—building and strengthening entrepreneurial ecosystems around the world. Powered by the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and sponsored by Dell, the initiative is supported by dozens of world leaders and a network of roughly 10,000 partner organizations. For more information, visit http://www.gew.co, and follow @unleashingideas on Twitter.

About the Kauffman Foundation
The Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation is a private, nonpartisan foundation that aims to foster economic independence by advancing educational achievement and entrepreneurial success. Founded by late entrepreneur and philanthropist Ewing Marion Kauffman, the Foundation is based in Kansas City, Mo., and has approximately $2 billion in assets. For more information, visit http://www.kauffman.org, and follow the Foundation on http://www.twitter.com/kauffmanfdn and http://www.facebook.com/kauffmanfdn.

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Mark Marich
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